Summer is nearly over and if you managed to get away with the family, I bet it hurt the purse strings. We've been researching the cost of family holidays and they work out around 40% higher during the summer holidays than during term time. We then asked our Travelzoo subscribers what they felt about the school holiday squeeze many said they were struggling to afford a summer holiday and over half of them were being forced to take their children out of school to be able to enjoy some family time together.
As a father and as someone who has worked in the travel industry for longer than I dare to mention, all this is very concerning, particularly when the annual summer holiday is supposed to be a time when you get to spend quality time together, feel sand between your toes, swim in the sea and quite simply relax.
If something isn't done, the summer family holiday is set to be a thing of the past for many and something only the wealthy can afford. That's not something I believe in. At Travelzoo we are all about getting people deals - we find travel deals all over the world, from weekend breaks to cruise holidays and everything in between. It is therefore really frustrating for my team of deal experts when they struggle to find good value holidays over the summer.
Instead of sitting back and accepting the situation, I've decided to make a stand and it has to be now. From 1st September, the Education Regulations will be amended to allow headteachers greater authority to decline holiday requests and enforce fines of up to £120 per child.
The way I see it, parents are being corralled into extortionate holiday prices - they can't take their children out of school and summer family deals are few and far between - it's something I call the Parent Trap.
There has to be a sensible solution. This is why I've started a #fighttheParentTrap campaign and have set up an e-petition to lobby the UK government to consider suspending or reducing Air Passenger Duty (APD) during the six weeks of the school summer-holiday period. This is one simple way to help reduce the price of family holidays, as the APD tax on a typical holiday to a long-haul destination can add over £350 to the travel bill for a family of four.
I only started this campaign a month ago and already over 20k people have signed the petition - I expect a written response from the government any day now and I need 100,000 signatures to get it debated in Parliament.
I want to make a change and I want to get the conversation going. We've had some lively debate among our travel industry peers, many of whom are backing my crusade and our Facebook page has been set on fire with opinions from parents and teachers alike. If you feel passionately about affordable family travel to find out more here.
Also you can join the debate on Twitter by following @Travelzoo_UK and help spread the word by using #fighttheParentTrap.
More about Richard
Richard Singer is the managing director of Travelzoo Europe, the travel and leisure deals publisher. A father of one (and another one on the way) he is passionate about travel and treasures his family holidays. He wants to make sure that a focus on quality family time is back on the government's agenda which is why he wants to #fighttheParentTrap. His personal crusade against the Parent Trap has been going for a month and he already has over 21,000 signatures, so watch this space!